Tags Posts tagged with "high school sports"

high school sports

By Steven Zaitz

Most times, a harmless looking “1-3” in the scorebook isn’t the most impactful play in a baseball game.

But with the Northport Tigers clinging to a skinny, one-run lead in the bottom of the 5th inning against Smithtown East on Thursday night, that 1-3 became a lucky 13.

Relief pitcher Vincent Staub entered the game in a bit of a mess. Smithtown East had already scored two runs in the frame and had cut a 5-1 Tiger lead to 5-3. Staub allowed an RBI single to short-stop Evan Schickler that brought the Bulls to within one.

After Schickler stole second base, the tying and go-ahead runs were on second and third.

East third-baseman Ryan Diffley hit a sharp one-hopper back to Staub, who managed to deflect the ball towards the first base foul line. Staub scampered off the mound and flipped the ball to Tiger first-baseman Dylan Sofarelli just in time to beat Diffley to the bag.

Northport retained its lead and Staub would finish the game, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh for a 5-4 win.

Liam Ryan, who pitched a courageous 4 ⅔ innings, recorded his second win of the year. He and Staub combined to pitch a no-hitter against Centereach in the season opener and are proving to be quite a one-two punch for Sean Lynch’s Tigers who improved to 3-1 with this win.

Northport jumped out to 4-0 lead with two in the first and a loud two-RBI double in the third off the bat of second-baseman Thomas Hardick. Sofarelli drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to make it 5-1, but Northport had the bases loaded with nobody out after that, but did not plate anybody else.

Ryan, who is making his debut in the starting rotation this year, was effective through his 4 2/3, retiring the side in order in the fourth. But he tired in the fifth, setting up Staub’s houdini act to rescue him and the Tigers. The duo combined to strike out six Bulls.

The two teams moved west on Friday night and East got a measure of revenge with a 7-0 win. Northport is 3-2 on the year and Smithtown East 3-1. The Tigers will face North Babylon next week for three games and East will play Centereach.

– Photos by Steve Zaitz

Newfield’s Riley Firenze tries to score on a wild pitch as Northport pitcher Jamie Gould covers the plate. Photo by Steven Zaitz

By Steven Zaitz

Getting off the bus, deuces were not very wild for the Newfield softball team last Friday.

The Wolverines dropped their first two games by a combined score of 20-6 and were in an early 2-0 hole against Northport on the road. It has been a full trip around the sun of futility for the Lady Wolverines as they had lost 14 games in a row dating back to last season — a streak that started exactly one year prior,  April 5, 2023 with a 12-9 loss to crosstown Centereach.

To make matters worse, the Wolverines ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the first when they had runners on first and third with no outs but failed to score.

But a three-run third, ignited by ninth-place hitter Emily Wall, gave Newfield its first lead of the season. The very long and ugly worm that was this 14-game losing streak was starting to turn. 

Senior starting pitcher Riley Firenze, who wears the number two on her back, shut the Lady Tigers down for the rest of the game, allowing only two hits after the second inning and striking out four. Newfield tacked on four runs late and secured a 7-2 victory – their first since starting the 2023 season 2-0.

“Getting this win was tremendous for our team and for the future of this season,” said Wolverine head coach Amanda Catapano. “Sometimes all it takes is that one win to get back into the groove and back to playing the softball that we know our girls can play.”

In addition to her monumental mound work, Firenze was the hitting star of the game. She had two doubles and a triple against Lady Tiger starting pitcher Jamie Gould. 

“I enjoy watching our team work hard,” said Firenze. “We are growing and improving every day.”

Despite taking the losses against Lindenhurst and Connetquot, Firenze’s stuff was on-point against the Tigers.

“Riley was locked-down on the mound after allowing those two early runs,” said Catapano. “She showed great speed and spin on the mound and she and Teresa Cotty called a wonderful game behind the plate helping to keep Northport batters on their heels using many off-speed pitches at the perfect times.”

Cotty, the cleanup-hitting catcher, had two hits and two RBIs on the day.

For Northport, only two of Gould’s runs allowed were earned, but she dealt with a lot of traffic on the basepaths, giving up 11 hits. 

Left Fielder Lilly McCabe had a two-RBI single that knocked in Jillian Ryan and Gabby Smith-Centero. 

Gabby Weissman had a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning and Kiera Murphy made a sparkling play in right field to end the third inning. 

The Tigers had another setback on Saturday against West Babylon, but they hope to eclipse their three-game skid on Monday against Smithtown East. Newfield plays on Thursday against Sachem North, looking for two wins in a row. 

– Photos by Steven Zaitz

Ava Zicchinelli slides safely home for the Panthers in a road game against Shoreham-Wading River. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Miller Place Panthers opened their 2024 softball season with a victory over Islip, a win against Sayville and then blanked Kings Park, before traveling to Shoreham-Wading River looking to make it four in a row.

Freshman Delaney Schleider’s bat spoke first, driving in two runs for the Panthers in the opening inning to take the early lead in the nonconference matchup April 8.

With one out, Miller Place loaded the bases in the top of the 4th when the Wildcats defense made a statement, turning a double play to strand three runners to end the inning.

It didn’t matter, the Panthers went on a scoring fest in the top of the 5th to break the game wide open by plating 11 runners before it was all over. Shoreham Wading River with their backs against the wall trailing 13-0 in the bottom of the 5th needed to answer back but the Wildcats bats fell silent, triggering the mercy rule — trailing by 10 runs or more — to end the game two innings early.

Miller Place junior Ava Zicchinelli put on an impressive pitching performance for the Panthers striking out eight batters while giving up just two hits, and teammate Brooke Borkowski had three hits, two runs with two RBIs in the win.

Miller Place retook the field the next day, April 9, with a home game against unbeaten Bayport-Blue Point, but lost for the first time, 2-0. Shoreham, on the other hand, cantered to an 18-5 victory at Harborfields. — Photos by Bill Landon 

Smithtown West’s Necco Cottage battles Nick Palhares at face off in a Div-II matchup Apr. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After narrowly winning their season opener, Comsewogue Warriors dropped their next two in a row and looked to get back to winning ways with a home game against Smithtown West, Saturday, April 6. 

Fresh off their win against Westhampton, the Bulls led 5-2 at the halftime break on a cold and windy morning in the Division II matchup. After a scoreless 3rd quarter Comsewogue managed a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes of play as Smithtown West notched an insurance goal to hold on to a 6-4 victory.

Smithtown West senior John Savino had two goals and one assist as did teammate Liam Byrne. Dylan Bonasera had nine stops in net for the Bulls.

Connor Rocchio topped the scoring chart for the Warriors with an assist and two goals, Ryan Meyers and Hunter Marquardt both scored, and goalie Adam Wacholder had 13 saves between the pipes.

In their next games, April 8, both teams had crushing victories, with Comsewogue beating Center Moriches 17-4 and Smithtown West defeating West Babylon 21-4.

Possession? Bill Landon photo

By Bill Landon

If the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River were concerned that they trailed the Comsewogue Warriors by three goals to begin the second quarter, it was senior midfielder Ryan Wilson’s stick that breathed new life into the Wildcats offense by cutting the deficit to 4-2 in the Division II rivalry Wednesday night, March 27. 

SWR’s senior midfielder, Liam Gregorek, rattled off two unanswered goals to make it a new game at 4-4. Both teams traded goals, and retied the game at 6-6 with 2:53 left before the halftime break, which arrived with Shoreham leading 8-6 that became 11-9 after the third quarter. 

Comsewogue senior attack Dylan Rocchio split the pipes to open the final 12 minutes of play for the Warriors to trail the Wildcats 11-10. With eight minutes left in regulation, SWR’s Alex Kershis dished off the ball to Wilson who buried his shot for the insurance goal. Minutes later senior attackman Liam Kershis fired at the cage, hitting the top upright but the rebound hit his stick and he fired off his second shot for the score for Shoreham to lead by three. Comsewogue’s Ryan Meyers answered with five minutes left in regulation, but the Wildcats held on for the 13-11 victory at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

Topping the scoring charts for the Wildcats was Liam Kershis with nine assists and one goal and Gregorek netted four. Jaden Galfano had nine saves in net.

Senior Meyers led the way for the Warriors with four goals and two assists, and teammates Rocchio, Doug Annicelli and Andrew Krieg each scored two goals apiece.

The win lifted the Wildcats to 2-0 in the early going and Comsewogue dropped to 1-1.                                    

By Bill Landon

Having lost their first two games of the season, Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats looked to put a win up on the board in this early season and win they did, defeating Kings Park 14-7 in driving rain Tuesday afternoon, April 2, at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

In the opening minutes of the second quarter, SWR freshman midfielder Madison Herr notched her hat trick on a penalty shot to put her team ahead 7-1. The Wildcats took the opportunity to rest some of their starters until the final buzzer sounded.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 1-2 in their division as the loss drops Kings Park to 0-3.

Both teams retake the field Friday, April 5, when Kings Park hosts Elwood-John Glenn at 5 p.m. and the Wildcats take on Westhampton in another home game at 4:45 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

By Steven Zaitz

In a dominating performance by their frontcourt, the Northport boys basketball team beat Brentwood in the first round of the Suffolk County, Class AAA playoffs Friday, Feb. 23.

Forward Will Meyer had a career-high 24 points to lead the sixth-seeded Tigers, who knocked off the third-seeded and defending county and Long Island champion Indians, 79-68. Forward Brendan Fenlon had 18 points, including four three-pointers, and Owen Boylan added 15.

Slashing and dashing point guard Jojo Cipollino had 20 points and scored most of his points by aggressively attacking the rim. Northport built a 20-10 lead after a fast-paced first quarter as Cipollino and Meyer each had six in the first eight minutes.

But Brentwood exploded for 23 in the second quarter as Indian swingman Marquese Dennis poured in nine, including a three-pointer. His teammate, 6’6” power forward had 16 points in the first half and the two teams went to the locker room with Northport ahead 37-33.

The Tigers came into the game averaging 56 points of offense a game but seemed to enjoy the electrifying pace and were able to negotiate Brentwood’s attempts at trapping them in the backcourt. Using quick passes to break the press or long baseball-like passes to go over it, Northport was able to get inside for high-percentage shots in the paint or divert to Plan B and make an extra pass for three-point attempts by Fenlon or Boylan — who hit on seven smart bombs in total. 

As is the case with so many high school basketball games, this one was decided in the third period. With three minutes to go in the quarter three and Northport up by five, Fenlon hoisted up a long ball right in front of the Tiger bench. The ball went halfway down, popped out of the basket, and then straight down and in.  It gave the Tigers a 51-43 advantage. Meyer hit a layup and was fouled with less than a minute to go in the quarter and the Northport lead ballooned to 58-46. Meyer had 10 points in the third.

The Brentwood gym has been kind to Northport in recent years as the Tigers boast a 14-7 record. In their last playoff appearance here in 2021, they beat the heavily-favored Indians 58-56 to win the Suffolk County championship. This year, they completed just the first step to a title. They played William Floyd on Wednesday, Feb. 28, for a chance at the finals for the third time in four years — results unavailable at time of print. For Brentwood, the loss means they will not have their 11th Suffolk County title in school history or fifth in the last decade. 

— Photos by Steven Zaitz

Smithtown East senior Ben Haug drives the lane in the Suffolk Class AA semi-finals. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Smithtown East was hoping three times would be the charm when they faced their crosstown rival Smithtown West in the Class AA semifinal round at Longwood High School Feb. 27. East fell to West by 14 points in January, then nine points Feb. 5, and was hoping to upset the No. 1 seed when the score was 14 all at the end of eight minutes of play. Smithtown West showed why they’re the top seed as they stretched their legs the rest of the way running away to win the game 74-47 and, with it, punched their ticket to the county final round.

Ben Rappa along with Michael Cascione topped the scoring chart for Smithtown West netting 16 points apiece, Jack Melore added 14 and Matt Bannell netted 12.

Craig O’Neill led Smithtown East in scoring with 11 points, Ben Haug netted nine and Tom Fanning added eight.

Smithtown West (No.1) returns to Longwood High School Saturday, March 2, where they will face Half Hollow Hills East (No. 2) in the county championship title round. Game time is slated for 2:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

It was Neelesh Raghurama’s long-range shooting prowess that powered the Patriots (No. 9) over the Wolverines (No. 8) with four triples and five field goals for a team high 22 points, leading Ward Melville in a 62-38 win over host Newfield in the opening round of Suffolk AAA playoff action Feb. 21. 

Newfield stayed within striking distance trailing by eight points to open the second half but struggled to gain traction against a potent Patriot offensive press in the final 16 minutes of play.

Rounding out the scoring for the Patriots were Devin Lynch with 14 points and Lorenzo Beaton netted 12.

Josh Hayes topped the scoring chart for the Wolverines with 12 points.

Newfield concludes its 2023-24 basketball campaign with a 10-6 league record, 12-8 overall.

Undefeated Bay Shore ended Ward Melville’s run with a 60-40 win in the quarterfinals Feb. 23. The Patriots took home a 9-7 league record, 12-10 overall.

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue Warriors (No. 4) hosted Bellport (No. 5) in the opening round of the Suffolk County class AA basketball title chase, with both teams deadlocked at 21-21 at the halftime break. The Warriors led by one point after three quarters of play at 33-32, but Bellport exploded in the final eight minutes of play, defeating Comsewogue 51-39.

Comsewogue senior Vienna Guzman netted 11 points as did teammate Jalynn Kirschenhueter and senior Hannah Ellis banked eight in the Feb. 23 contest.

Comsewogue concludes the 2023-24 campaign with an impressive 11-3 league record, 13-7 overall.